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Nutrition and Food Security

Tagged in Ghana, GROW, Nutrition

Nutrition and Food Security
GROW’s ultimate goal was to improve food security for 20,000 women farmers and their families in the Upper West Region of Ghana. Project activities centered around helping women improve the availability, access to and utilization of appropriate and nutritious foods. This paper uses a causal model to consider the pathways by which GROW impacted food security and nutrition.

Land Tenure Case Study

Tagged in Ghana, GROW, Land

Land Tenure Case Study
Typically, economic development projects focused on agriculture and food security ignore the issue of land tenure. This is because most economic development projects tend to be gender-neutral, which is often gender-blind in reality, focused on male heads-of households, who tend to control economic resources with the assumption that the benefits will trickle down to women and children. For a women-centric project, like Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW), MEDA found that land tenure was critical and underpinned women’s ability to participate in agriculture, their agricultural productivity – that includes access to all natural resources whether it be water, trees for firewood or fruits from the tress themselves – and ultimately, their income.

Putting Technology into the Hands of Women: Impact Study

Tagged in Ghana, GROW, Technology

Putting Technology into the Hands of Women: Impact Study
Women in northern Ghana have limited access to agricultural technology and are forced to do most of their farming activities manually, from clearing land to planting, harvesting and processing. In 2017, the GROW project launched a large-scale smart incentive program to increase women’s access to selected technologies through local commercial providers. MEDA worked to build a more sustainable market for the technologies by working on both the supply and demand side. Even with increased supply, the technologies are expensive for smallholder women farmers, many of whom would be unable to purchase even a single item of technology without financial support. For a limited period of time, the Technology Fund offered a smart incentive to women involved in the GROW project, allowing them to benefit from technology they could otherwise not afford. This paper focuses on a group of Women Sales Agents, market
intermediaries who connect smallholder women farmers to markets, who have purchased several technologies. This paper examines the impact of purchasing technology on women’s time use, income, working capital and social position in their communities, and makes recommendations for future programming.

Women Sales Agents

Tagged in Gender, Ghana, GROW

Women Sales Agents
This case study examines GROW’s Women Sales Agent (WSA) model as one of several methodologies to achieve project goals of increased market linkages and sustainability for women farmers in the Upper West Region of Ghana. With a vested interest in the growth and empowerment of women farmers, WSAs provide women farmers with information and embedded services in order to better integrate farmers into markets. This woman-to-woman model addresses the unique skills required to be a successful woman-centric intermediary in the soy value chain and is proving to be empowering for women, generating evidence of increased agency and access for WSAs, and to some degree for women farmers themselves.

Conservation Agriculture Case Study

Tagged in Agriculture, Ghana, GROW

Conservation Agriculture Case Study
Land degradation and erosion in Northern Ghana is rampant: The Upper West Region (UWR) region has very fragile soils as a result of the removal of crop residue and natural vegetation, overgrazing, bush burning and the cutting of trees for fuel, agriculture and construction. As a result, MEDA has promoted conservation agriculture (CA) practices in the Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project: specifically, zero/minimum tillage, slash and mulch, crop rotation and intercropping and integrated pest management. This study analyzes the implementation of CA among the women smallholder farmers who participated in GROW, the challenges for women farmers in implementing CA in the UWR and the extent to which CA promotes environmental sustainability and mitigates climate change.

Women-owned Keyhole Gardens - Keyhole gardens contribute to women’s economic empowerment in Ghana

Women-owned Keyhole Gardens - Keyhole gardens contribute to women’s economic empowerment in Ghana

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) implemented a pilot to extend the growing season for female farmers with the ultimate goal of contributing towards improved food security for women and their families in Northwestern Ghana. The project tested two water catchment, storage and irrigations systems: ferro-cement tanks and keyhole gardens. MEDA completed an evaluation of these technologies in February 2015.

Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Northern Ghana

Tagged in Agriculture, Ghana, GROW, VSLA

Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) in Northern Ghana
Over seven years of implementation, the GROW project has learned a great deal about women’s economic empowerment and food security in northern Ghana. The project team is happy to share our lessons learned in the GROW Learning Series, a set of documents we are releasing in 2018. Topics include women’s economic empowerment, nutrition and food security, financial inclusion, women and technology and conservation agriculture.

Within this Learning Series, the GROW team is producing three short briefs on the project’s financial services work, focusing on our crop insurance pilot, Village Savings and Loan groups and the targeted technical assistance provided to our financial services partners. This paper highlights GROW's journey with the Village Savings and Loan Association model.

Technical Assistance to Financial Service Providers - GROW

Tagged in Finance, Ghana, GROW

Technical Assistance to Financial Service Providers - GROW
Over seven years of implementation, the GROW project has learned a great deal about women’s economic empowerment and food security in northern Ghana. The project team is happy to share our lessons learned in the GROW Learning Series, a set of documents we are releasing in 2018. Topics include women’s economic empowerment, nutrition and food security, financial inclusion, women and technology and conservation agriculture.

Within this Learning Series, the GROW team is producing three short briefs on the project’s financial services work, focusing on our crop insurance pilot, Village Savings and Loan groups and the targeted technical assistance provided to our financial services partners. This paper highlights GROW's intervention regarding technical assistance to the project's financial service partners.

Piloting Crop Insurance with Women Farmers

Tagged in Finance, Ghana, GROW

Piloting Crop Insurance with Women Farmers
Over seven years of implementation, the GROW project has learned a great deal about women’s economic empowerment and food security in northern Ghana. The project team is happy to share our lessons learned in the GROW Learning Series, a set of documents we are releasing in 2018. Topics include women’s economic empowerment, nutrition and food security, financial inclusion, women and technology and conservation agriculture.

Within this Learning Series, the GROW team is producing three short briefs on the project’s financial services work, focusing on our crop insurance pilot, Village Savings and Loan groups and the targeted technical assistance provided to our financial services partners. This paper highlights GROW's experience piloting crop insurance for female farmers.

Conservation Agriculture in Northern Ghana

Tagged in Environment and Climate Change, Ghana, GROW

Conservation Agriculture in Northern Ghana
Over seven years of implementation, the GROW project has learned a great deal about women’s economic empowerment and food security in northern Ghana. The project team is happy to share our lessons learned in the GROW Learning Series, a set of documents we are releasing in 2018. Topics include women’s economic empowerment, nutrition and food security, financial inclusion, women and technology and conservation agriculture. This paper highlights GROW's successes and challenges with conservation agriculture in Northern Ghana. 

Accroître l’accès des femmes à la terre: Une promesse de changement

Accroître l’accès des femmes à la terre: Une promesse de changement
Accroître l'accès des femmes à la terre: Une promesse de changement» fournit un aperçu de la question des droits fonciers des femmes au Ghana. L'accès sécurisé à la terre et à la propriété foncière pour les femmes est d'une importance vitale pour les agriculteurs, y compris ceux avec lesquels le projet GROW travaille dans la région de l'Upper West du Ghana. De nombreuses études ont démontré que le régime foncier et l'amélioration de l'accès des femmes à la terre peuvent accroître la sécurité alimentaire et protéger les ressources naturelles. Le 18 novembre 2017, GROW organisa un forum sur le régime foncier à Wa, au Ghana, pour informer les communautés et commencer à développer des stratégies sur le régime foncier pour les femmes ghanéennes. Pour en savoir plus sur cet événement et les efforts de GROW pour faire avancer la conversation sur l'accès à la terre, lisez notre brochure.

Increasing Women's Access to Land: Committing to Change

Tagged in Gender, Ghana

Increasing Women
"Increasing Women's Access to Land: Advancing the Conversation" provides insight into the on-going issue of land tenure for women in Ghana. Secure access to land and land ownership for women is vitally important for farmers, including those whom the GROW project works with in Ghana's Upper West Region. Many studies have shown that land ownership and improved access to land for women can increase food security and protect natural resources. On November 18, 2017, GROW hosted a land tenure forum in Wa, Ghana, to inform communities and begin developing strategies on land tenure for Ghanaian women. Read more about this exciting event and how GROW is working to advance the conversation on land access.

Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) / Meilleures opportunités pour les agricultrices

Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) / Meilleures opportunités pour les agricultrices

GROW, made possible with the generous support of Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), promotes women’s economic empowerment in Northern Ghana. GROW strives for improved sustainable food security for smallholder farming families, particularly among women.

In 2017, 17,779 farmers harvested 7,740 hectares of soybean, yielding 7,169 MT of the legume. Of that, 4,940 MT were sold, 1,513 MT were kept for consumption, and 546 MT were saved as seed. GROW farmers earned 6.4 million Ghana cedis (1.9 million CAD) from their soybean sales. Five years ago, only 15% of women had enough food to last 12 months of the year, now 51% have enough to meet their household’s needs all year. Nearly all households (96%) now include soybean in their diet.


Rendu possible par le soutien généreux d’Affaires mondiales Canada et mis en oeuvre par Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), GROW favorise l’autonomisation économique des femmes dans le nord du Ghana. GROW s’efforce d’améliorer la sécurité alimentaire durable pour les petites exploitations agricoles, en particulier chez les femmes.

En 2017, 17 779 agriculteurs ont récolté 7 740 hectares de soja, ce qui représente 7 169 tonnes métriques de légumineuses. De ce nombre, 4 940 tonnes ont été vendues, 1 513 ont été conservées pour la consommation et 546 ont été mises de côté à titre de semences. Les agricultrices et agriculteurs de GROW ont gagné 6,4 millions de cedis ghanéens (1,9 million CAD) de leurs ventes de soja. Il y a cinq ans, seulement 15 % des femmes avaient assez de nourriture pour les 12 mois de l’année, maintenant 51 % en ont assez pour répondre en permanence aux besoins de leur ménage. Presque tous les ménages (96 %) incluent maintenant le soja dans leur alimentation.

Greater Rural Opportunities for Women – Market Actor Case Study – February 2017

Tagged in Monitoring and Impact Measurement

Greater Rural Opportunities for Women – Market Actor Case Study – February 2017

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”
- Kofi Annan

These words spoken by former Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his opening remarks at the UN commission on the Status of Women, are among the main goals envisioned in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by heads of state and government, and high representatives at the United Nations. This goal is shared by many NGOs in the developing world, including MEDA, whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty.

Business opportunities for women require collaboration with various market and value chain actors. In the GROW context, this looks like moving products from input suppliers to farmers, who then produce with access to extension, technology, information, transport and other support services offered by the private sector. From there, the end product is delivered to the end customer. Therefore, the relationship between and among market players, especially between farmers, agribusinesses, and buyers are crucially important in facilitating a productive market system.

The implementation of the GROW project started in 2013 with a goal of reaching 20,000 women farmers using a value chain approach. Through a mixed methods approach including interviews and surveys, this case study examines the role of these market actors and their productivity as they have engaged with the GROW project and female farmers. The results will help MEDA to learn about the impact it is making in this market system, and will be shared with partners.

Women-owned Keyhole Gardens: An opportunity to strengthen household food security in Ghana

Tagged in Environment and Climate Change

Women-owned Keyhole Gardens: An opportunity to strengthen household food security in Ghana
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) implemented a pilot to extend the growing season for female farmers with the ultimate goal of contributing towards improved food security for women and their families in Northwestern Ghana. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project tested two water catchment, storage and irrigations systems: ferro-cement tanks and keyhole gardens. MEDA completed an evaluation of these technologies in February 2015.

How to build your keyhole garden…

Tagged in Environment and Climate Change

How to build your keyhole garden…
A pictorial guide for the urban gardens project on how to build a keyhole garden. a pictorial guide for the urban gardens project

How To Build A Keyhole Garden

Tagged in Environment and Climate Change

How To Build A Keyhole Garden

What is a keyhole garden?

It is a circular shaped garden with a compost basket built at the centre and a small depression towards the centre that al-lows for easy access to the basket and gives the garden a keyhole shape when viewed from above.

The garden uses a number of layers to retain moisture and nourish the soil and the composting basket replenishes the soil's nutrients as well. The garden is made from materials that are locally available at relatively low or no cost.

This document explains how to build your own keyhole garden, complete with pictures.